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Future planning: what user preferences would be useful?

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I am starting to think about user preferences. This won't happen for a while, but I'd like to gather input so we can start thinking about a functional design.

Currently a user has a single account across our network. When you edit your description or your display name or your blog link, those changes apply on all communities where you have a presence. Similarly, when you link a Stack Exchange account (on communities that support data import), what you're really linking is your SE network account -- you only need to link it once.

User profiles have a very small preferences section now -- there's one preference, to turn keyboard shortcuts on or off, which I believe is a global preference. We've had a request for a per-community preference for a default license -- you might ask why per-community, but it makes sense to me that if you are hobbyist photographer but a professional writer, you might want different settings on those two communities.

The possibility of per-category preferences has also been raised, again with licenses.

We need to understand the potential use cases before we design something. Knowing whether there are 3 or 30 things, for instance, or knowing whether preferences are mostly global with a few exceptions or mostly local or all over the place, makes a difference.

My question to y'all is: what kinds of things should be settable as user preferences, and with what scoping (global, community, category)? Some suggestions I've heard (please feel free to develop these in answers) include:

  • default license -- per community, maybe per category

  • whether your votes are public or private by default (assuming we implement optional public votes; we don't have this now) -- per community

  • enable keyboard shortcuts - global?

  • just to acknowledge it before deferring it: dark mode :-) (yeah maybe someday, not now, presumably global)

What else should we be considering?

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+10
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status-completed Favorite tags It's an idea I was thinking about since a while ago, but wouldn't it be nice if use …

almost 2 years ago

+8
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Sort posts in one's own profile by score or age The profile main page includes a selection of posts (currently top 15 …

almost 2 years ago

+8
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whether your votes are public or private by default I would probably use that, but it also shouldn't be a big deal to …

almost 2 years ago

+7
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status-completed Enable/Disable Autosave Self-explanatory, let users choose whether they want to turn the autosavi …

almost 2 years ago

+6
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status-partially-completed: can now set per community (but not per category). Allow users to select their own default …

almost 2 years ago

+5
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status-completed Be able to not have default licenses This is related to being able to pick a default per category …

over 1 year ago

+4
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Enable/disable display of Hot Notable Network Questions. [If we ever have the Notable Network Questions at all.]

almost 2 years ago

+3
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Use a monospace font in the editor (enable/disable) For those like me who want to use a proportional font when writin …

almost 2 years ago

+5
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Some way to track the votes you are receiving. Some kind of "reputation timeline" that explains which posts were voted u …

over 1 year ago

+4
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Assuming the favourite tags per community feature gets implemented, then how about some manner of social media-like "fee …

almost 2 years ago

+4
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With respect to licence types per category: the Photography & Video site default is CC BY-SA 4.0, but the Contests/Criti …

almost 2 years ago

+1
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Choosing the language of the interface. In my experience in non English sites from SE, not having a user interface in …

over 1 year ago

+1
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Currently, the user profile has these fields: - Avatar - Username - Profile description - Website URL - Twitter a …

over 1 year ago

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I would enjoy having a network profile, where I could see all the posts and comments I have posted over time.

over 1 year ago

+1
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A succinct list of posts, the time they were posted and its current score, as well as the last time they were active. (a …

over 1 year ago

+4
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Show/Disable last seen time This is a pretty standard preference for those sites that do have "last seen" tracking, f …

almost 2 years ago

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It would be great to have a way to define where the preview is showed: above, below, or next to the text editor

over 1 year ago

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Title before body in post editor There has been much discussion about the fact that the title is put after the body o …

almost 2 years ago

+2
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status-declined I would like a way to disable Markdown by default in posts I write. The HTML formatting is richer, …

almost 2 years ago

1 comment thread

General comments (3 comments)
Post
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Show/Disable last seen time

This is a pretty standard preference for those sites that do have "last seen" tracking, for those who want to opt out. If they enable it, their last seen time would be shown on their profile, if not, it wouldn't.

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1 comment thread

General comments (5 comments)

Comments on Future planning: what user preferences would be useful?

General comments
Olin Lathrop‭ wrote almost 2 years ago:

The last-seen time is for everyone else. It's something that users shouldn't be able to hide.

Monica Cellio‭ wrote almost 2 years ago:

I'm not convinced it's a good idea to advertise when somebody last visited the site. It feels kind of stalkerish. You can't tell when somebody else last looked at Twitter or Reddit or (AFAIK) Facebook, for instance. When somebody last took an action is public information, but just browsing feels like it should be private or at least private by default.

Moshi‭ wrote almost 2 years ago:

@OlinLathrop It's a standard and expected setting if the site tracks last seen times.
@MonicaCellio Me neither, but the point here wasn't to debate the merits of tracking last seen times but just to point out that it should be a user preference.

mbomb007‭ wrote almost 2 years ago:

Agreed, this should definitely be up to the user. Sure, you can look at their "activity" like posts and comments, but users shouldn't be able to see when someone last visited. That's creepy. For example, Telegram has this, but also a setting for users to choose to restrict who can see it, or turn it off.

msh210‭ wrote over 1 year ago:

Fwiw, iinm WhatsApp had this as a preference with the tire that if no one else can see yours then you can't see anyone else's. (Here that'd work only if it's visible only to logged-in users, natch.)